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Privateness

by Laura Riding

They have a small bedroom. The bed is small, but they are not fat and they love each other. She sleeps with her knees neatly inside his knees and when they get up they do not get in each other's way. She says, "Put on the shirt with the blue patterns like little spotted plates," and he says, "Put on the white skirt that you wear the purple jacket with." They have no prejudices against colours but like what they have.

Their other room is not larger, but it is cleverly arranged, with a table for this and a table for that. He makes the sandwiches at one table while at another she writes a letter to a friend who needs money. She writes promptly to say they have no money and sends their love. It is not true that they have no money; but they are both out of work and must be careful with the little money they have. They are thinking of renting an office and selling advice on all subjects, for they are very intelligent people. The idea seems like a joke, and they talk about it jokingly; but they mean it.

They go to a large park. It costs little to get there and they know the very tree they want to sit under. It is more like a business trip than a holiday. They eat their lunch in a methodical way and afterwards look through the grass around them as a mother looks through her child's hair to see if it is clean. Then they think about their affairs and change their minds many times.

They walk about on the grass and feel sensible, but when they walk on paved paths they feel they are wasting their time. Finally they decide to commit suicide. They talk about it in natural tones because they may really do it -and they may not. There is an oval pond in the park with solemn brown ducks paddling in it, and they sit down by it, sorry for the ducks paddling in it, and they sit down by it, sorry for the ducks but not for themselves.

They go out of the park at a different entrance from the one they came in by. There are strange restaurants all around they would never think of eating in. It makes them feel lonely, so they speed home in a taxi, though they can ill afford this. At home there is the electric light, which makes them look at each other peculiarly. It is worth going out to be able to come home and look at each other in such a way - not a loving way or a tragic way, but as if to say, "It doesn't interest us what our story is - that is for other people."

 
Laura (Riding) Jackson

A Mannered Grace
The Failure of Poetry, The Promise of Language
Anarchism Is Not Enough
Essays from Epilogue
First Awakenings
Four Unposted Letters To Catherine
Progress of Stories
Rational Meaning
The Laura (Riding) Jackson Reader
The Poems of Laura Riding
A Selection of the Poems of Laura Riding
The Telling
The Word Woman
Under The Mind's Watch
Sample Letters of Laura (Riding) Jackson
Essays
Web Page updated August 2014

 

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